Spinning-out FlexiCAGE

Achieving wide and smooth component reuse

Component Based Development (CBD) is already widely used in the construction of software systems. However, due to the diversity of applications being built, prequalified existing components often show some mismatches with the requirements of the target application.

Traditionally, the approach to eliminating these mismatches is to use ‘component wrappers’ to mediate the communication between components. Although this approach is suitable for certain simple situations, a component wrapper incurs heavy code overhead and often degrades the target component based system.

A novel approach to generative component adaptation

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From a research project, CISS (Dr. X Liu and team) developed a novel approach to eliminating component mismatch problem by generatively adapting software components using a highly automated process. The approach is able to reduce the development cost and time to market of a software application by 40%. The uniqueness and the industrial value of the approach enabled CISS to win the funding support from Scottish Enterprise under its well established Proof of Concept programme in 2005, followed by a further PRP grant in 2007. The promising market assessment and commercialisation-oriented R&D secured the project a SMART Feasibility Study award in 2009, from which a spin out company, namely FlexiCAGE Ltd, was incorporated as the most appropriate vehicle to grasp the commercial opportunity the technology has.

At present, FlexiCAGE has registered a patent in Britain, USA and China, and is actively grasping the market of automated software tools. As a case of success but not limited to, the company has been in touch with the 2nd largest international telecommunication software company, HUAWEI (http://www.huawei.com/), which concluded that FlexiCAGE™ can support them to effectively control the schedule and cost of outsourced projects and greatly increase the reusability of components in these projects. Following two rounds of demonstration and 4 consecutive trial versions, the corporate agreed to sign a framework contract of £300K for software licensing.

USPs and Benefits

  • More reuse with less code overhead - lower production costs
  • Greater return from existing software component libraries
  • Reduce time-to-market and development costs by an average of 40%
  • Enables greater choice of components to be reused
  • Automatic adaptation of software components
  • No degradation of components and component-based systems compared with traditional 'wrapper' approach
  • Smoother integration between adapted components
  • More efficient target application performance improves end-user experience

Quotation We perceive that the FlexiCAGE tool will benefit our component-based outsourcing software development at a great extent, resulting in cost and time savings while improving the process -- HAWEI Corp. “I haven’t seen any similar technologies – I think it is fairly unique" -- Real-Time Engineering - HUAWEI Corp. and Real Time Engineering

Related Project: SAGA Bench

Project Team

Dr Colin Combe
(not currently an institute member)
Xiaodong Liu
+44 131 455 2747